33rd District Court in Woodhaven
The 33rd District Court is located in Woodhaven, Michigan. This court is known as a law-and-order court, and you need the services of a seriously experienced defense attorney by your side if you have a case there.
Types of Cases Heard in the 33rd District Court
The 33rd District Court hears criminal cases and civil infraction matters in addition to its civil docket. Civil infractions are ticket cases that carry monetary fines, and the most common would be traffic tickets. Misdemeanor cases carry potential jail time, from 30 days up to 1 year in jail, fines, and costs, and up to two years of probation. District courts do not have jurisdiction to sentence a person to more than one year in jail. The three judges at the 33rd District Court serve the communities of Brownstown Township, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile, Rockwood, Trenton, and Woodhaven.
Although district judges can not sentence a person to more than one year in jail, they do have the authority to handle the preliminary stages of cases of felony matters, such as the arraignment and preliminary examination. A felony is a criminal case punishable by more than one year in prison. A district judge may see a misdemeanor through to the end, which is sentencing and probation supervision, dismissal, or acquittal at trial.
All felony cases are started in the district court. The felony case proceedings handled by the district court are as follows:
- Arraignment – An arraignment is the first event in a felony case, and it happens in the city district court where a crime allegedly occurred. Arraignments are a court hearing where the judge sets a bond for a defendant and schedules further court dates.
Bond amounts are individualized based on the charges and the facts and circumstances of the defendant. The main purpose of a bond is to ensure that the defendant will re-appear in court on future dates. Bonds can be “personal,” which means no money is deposited with the court. The bond will have a monetary amount attached to it in the event the defendant fails to appear in court when ordered to, and if the defendant fails to appear, the defendant will owe that amount to the court.
Cash bonds require some amount of money to be deposited with the court. The court can order the defendant to deposit the entire amount (for example, $5,000.00 cash or bond only). For defendants that the judge trusts more, the court may order a cash or ten percent bond. Some cases are so serious (murder, for example) that the defendant is not entitled to any bond, and is held in custody until the case is completed.
It is extremely important that a defendant has a reputable, effective defense expert at the arraignment for several reasons. First, having a respected, retained attorney with you will show the judge you intend to appear in court in the future; otherwise, you would not have hired a lawyer. The decision to hire a known defense lawyer can lead to a low or personal bond. Second, the defense attorney will know how to make an argument for a personal or low bond; the attorney knows what to say to the court, as opposed to a defendant, who may say the wrong thing and do more harm than good.
- Probable Cause Conference (PCC) – The PCC is the first time the prosecutor and defense attorney have a chance to meet, discuss the case, and decide as to potential plea bargains and whether the defendant or the prosecutor will demand a Preliminary Exam hearing. If the case is plea-bargained to a misdemeanor, the district judge will have jurisdiction of the case until its conclusion and will sentence the defendant or dismiss the case. The attorneys may also discuss the need for motions, evidentiary hearings, and disputed evidence.
- Preliminary Examination – A preliminary exam is like a one-sided mini-trial where the prosecution has the burden of proof to show probable cause to believe the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. District judges are responsible for making this decision. Both the prosecutor and the defendant have the right to demand the exam. The defendant may waive the exam for strategic reasons, and the prosecution may demand to conduct the exam also for strategic reasons (for example, to preserve testimonial evidence or to add additional charges supported by the evidence brought out at the exam). If the judge finds probable cause, the case is “bound over” or sent to the county’s Circuit Court for further proceedings. If probable cause is not found, the felony charge would be dismissed.
Types of Misdemeanor Cases for Which a Plea or Trial May Take Place in the District Court
- Retail Fraud (Shoplifting)
- Assault and Battery
- Domestic Violence
- Drunk Driving 1st and 2nd Offense
- Minor Drug Cases
- OWI – DUI, Drug and Alcohol-Related Driving Offenses
- Reckless Driving
Types of Felony Cases for Which a Preliminary Exam or Plea Bargain May Take Place in the District Court
- Felonious Assault
- Home Invasion or Breaking and Entering
- Armed and Unarmed Robbery
- Murder and Manslaughter
- Drunk Driving 3rd Offense
- Weapons Crimes
- Serious Drug Offenses
Highly Successful Defense Attorneys for the 33rd District Court in Woodhaven
The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have had great success in the 33rd District court. As with all courts in Michigan, we have a mutually respectful relationship with the judges and court staff in the 33rd District Court, because they appreciate our professionalism and our knowledge of the law. When we walk into court with our clients, the judge knows the client takes his or her freedom seriously and has obtained the best representation possible. Our objective is always to get charges dismissed and have the case thrown out of court, if possible.
If you have a case in the 33rd District Court or are under investigation for a matter there, give us a call, and we will explain how we can help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.